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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

I no longer think that Dubuque is a good place to raise a family. In fact, if you have a child with a disability, you may be better off elsewhere.  It’s not bad, and better than what we would have had in New York City, but I’ve been looking around and there seem to be better places.  Madison, WI is one place we’re looking at, and if it wasn’t for Walker, it would be close to perfect.

But the bloom is off the rose, and Dubuque, which once seemed a very grounded and open place, has turned to the usual bad habits of many cities.  The politicians are inaccessible, the police are unethical, and the laws are now going from protecting citizens to generating money off of them. Schools get cut, but special pet projects do not.  Small businesses suffer at the hands of larger ones. They found a way to get rid of undesirable “people from Chicago” (code word for black) legally.  Discrimination is almost as rampant as apathy and ignorance.  There are few people with strong convictions here, and it shows.

I want to fight for a community that fights with me, for me, alongside me. I’ll be the best thing that ever happened!  

We still have to ride it out more than a year, since we do want our daughter to graduate from the local high school. It would be foolish to pull her out now.  But if we can figure out how to make it work, we need to go to a good city, one that is family friendly.

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Sojourners Magazine, September/October 2008.

Most recent issue of Sojourners has two interviews with two men, about poverty.  Edwards and Huckabee.  Interesting to see two sides of the political fence discuss the same issue.

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The mayor is always spouting about how green our city is.  There’s all sorts of little initiatives that they’ve done to make it green, and most seem to be construction related, or dealing with government buildings.

They neglect one of the biggest things that would make a city green.

Public transportation.

Because of school, I REALLY need to do some shopping tomorrow.   The busses? Not running. But then, the buses don’t run early enough for me to go to clinicals, don’t run late enough for people to go out after school, or work (realistically you’re in deep doo-doo after 4pm).  No one can take a bus to church unless they are a Seventh Day Adventist, since they don’t run on Sundays.  They give free rides to the pool but stop running before the pool closes!

Furthermore, the people who need the buses the most, the elderly, the disabled, and kids, are the ones who are getting slighted.  Sometimes the elderly and disabled can get the door to door service, if they pass the application process, but even that is limited, just like the regular service.

The only thing that has decent service is the trolley. The one set up for tourists. Longer hours, more days.

So I am proud of my city for trying to be green, but disappointed that this is one of many ways they neglect the really powerful ways of making an impact for so many.  Coupled with how their traffic lights are timed in dangerous and deadly ways to make it difficult to cross some streets, they’re catering to those driving in private cars.  They should be encouraging people to walk, take public transportation, or ride bikes.  They aren’t doing any of that, sadly.

Let’s hope Dubuque makes an honest commitment to being green, and beefs up its public transit. If they want to continue to draw business here, they’re going to need to understand that businesses care about their workers and need to know their workers can get around. Businesses that are coming from places with adequate public transportation will be disappointed in the wholely inadequate transit we have here.

Yes, I’d love a train to Chicago, which gets so much ink in the Telegraph Herald. That would be great! But maybe the paper should look into how we’re not truly green if we keep ignoring our public transit needs.  They say not enough people ride but who wants to ride if it takes an hour to get to the west end to shop, and then you have to wait up to an hour to go home when you are done?  Or if you know you can’t use it after work?

Mayor Buol? Reevaluate your green pledge.  Do something for the environment, the city, and those who don’t drive.  I know there is a lot of focus on the richer part of town, but I think improved bus service can improve the lives of people all over Dubuque.  Telling people ‘replace one ride a month’ is MEANINGLESS if you can’t back it up with adequate public transportation.

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Court turns down Chinese man’s asylum claim

I guess this nation being rabidly pro-life only counts within our borders!

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Blog Takes Failed Marriage Into Fight Over Free Speech – New York Times

Man blogs a ‘ficti0nal account’ of his marriage. Divorce judge wants him to take it down and not post any more.  Interesting article.

I think he should keep it up unless what the article says is true — he posted bits of her personal journal in his blog. THAT is unacceptable. Otherwise, it should stay up or at the very least go to civil, and not family court. This was done without a hearing.

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Empowering

If I could think of one word to describe the Democratic caucus process, that would be it. (It is different than the Republican one.) Standing with your neighbors, your community, discussing the issues and how to best obtain the goals you’ve set makes you feel like part of the process.

After living in NYC much of my life, I was used to primaries that didn’t matter, and elections that didn’t matter. I still voted, but I knew that my city, my state, would nearly always go a certain way. There were no close elections, and any presidential primary was nearly pointless, the candidates already decided by time they got to NYS.

Here, not only are we first, but the process of standing and lobbying like that really makes the issues matter.  Sure I suppose you could go and stand by whichever one seems popular, but the buzz in the air, the talk about politics, showed that Iowans took their duty seriously.  If there was an issue we were unsure of, we discussed amongst ourselves in advance and later could ask some of the people already standing with their candidate of choice what they thought.

What was really interesting, too, was the second round. For example, Kucinich said that if he is not viable, go over to Obama. But wait! Biden and Kucinich supporters realized that if they combined, they could make one viable candidate — ahh, but which way to go? And would everyone agree?  And people at that point weren’t just looking for who to support, but by that time, if they moved one way, how would that influence the mainstream characters. Would Edwards mean a win for Hilary? Some people thought so. Would the Biden go to Kucinich or the other way around? Or would they go to someone else?

And then the reps from the candidates would come over and court the undecided and the non viable ones, explaining why they fit best. And you could walk around and ask who. And if you changed? CHEERS. You were like a hero, one more for the team!

No animosity towards neighbors, but a lot of education about the issues.

Given this process, I would say that Iowa caucus voters (this year a record turnout, I’ve heard) are some of the most informed voters in the country. Not only about the candidates but about what issues matter.  Sometimes issues you didn’t give a second thought about had views aired by someone and you realized you didn’t even consider your stand on it.

And if you had an issue? Someone in the room probably listened to you. Sure it was casual, but to be not just a voice in the symbolic sense, but in the very real and literal sense that you spoke and people heard, was empowering. Although I do believe in private ballots for the general election, I can see where having a caucus like this leads to an informed populace and a good choice for a candidate.

The reason that Iowa caucus winners aren’t so much because we are first, but because we take our duty seriously, and have the opportunity to really hash out what matters. We’re not just pulling a lever or checking a box. We are discussing and deciding. And that’s an important part of democracy. Information as well as freedom.

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